Former India player turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra has questioned Team India’s decision to field first in the second ODI against Zimbabwe. India registered an emphatic 10-wicket win in the first ODI after asking them to bat first. While it was widely expected that Indian captain KL Rahul would bat first if he won the toss in the second game on Saturday, August 20, he surprised everyone by choosing otherwise.
While reviewing the game in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra said: “Winning the toss and deciding to bowl, actually it was a no-brainer, that if you have such good conditions, you should bowl first, it makes more sense. Could you have lost the match if you had batted first? There is a possibility, you can lose if you are reduced to 25/5. But how else do you challenge yourself? I can totally understand from Rahul’s point of view because make-shift, he has gotten an opportunity to captain now, you have not won the series, why take a chance, leave it, let us bowl.”
However, the Indian team management might have wanted to seal the series in the second game. And, they might opt to bat first if they win the toss in the third and final match on Monday, August 22 as well.
“VVS Laxman is the coach of course, he is also an interim coach, so he will also want to win the series. But from an outsider’s perspective, you feel that if you had batted first after winning the toss, it would have been probably better because you would have put slightly more pressure on yourselves. It seemed earlier that none of them would get to bat, that is why Rahul came to open as well, but in the end, everyone got to bat. It’s all good if it ends well but if you had batted first and even lost the match, I wouldn’t have criticized, I wouldn’t have said even once that you did the wrong thing,” Aakash Chopra further stated.
However, Aakash Chopra has applauded Sanju Samson for using the opportunity well that he got in the second ODI against Zimbabwe. Samson first took three catches at the Harare Sports Club in Harare on Saturday, August 20 and then smashed an unbeaten 43 off just 39 deliveries to help his side win.
He said: “Welcome Sanju Samson with applause. Make it a principle of life that if there is a traffic jam at the top, you should be next in line, that whenever there is a chance, I should be the guy. So Sanju keep doing that. Sanju is getting fewer opportunities. There are two points of view there. One is that he doesn’t make the best of his chances and that’s why he gets fewer opportunities. The second school of thought is that you give him chances continuously, then only you will come to know if he has utilized them or not.”
Meanwhile, Sanju Samson has represented India in just six ODIs and 16 T20Is so far. Although he averages 53.66 in the handful of ODI knocks he has played, he has an underwhelming average of 21.14 in the T20 format of the game.
“When there are fewer opportunities, you need to make the best of them. He made the best of it here. He didn’t get to bat in the last match, here he got to bat but before that he got to keep. He took some extremely good catches, diving all around the place, although he did miss one stumping, an extremely easy, regulation one. When he got to bat, the Indian team was under a little bit of pressure because Rahul, Shikhar, Gill and Ishan had all gotten out. Suddenly you realized whether the game will get stuck, but that did not happen. Sanju Samson was present, finished the match with a six,” Aakash Chopra concluded.